Lesson: Beginning Writing


Time Capsule Activity

: Students will hear about two time capsules that were


time it should be opened.


Students will understand that Time Capsules are one way to preserve history. They will build connections between the artifacts in the Museum Heritage Trunk and the common place items that we use today. Students will practice working in small groups and will collectively work on solving a problem.

Background Information:

Time capsules have been used throughout the centuries to preserve history for future generations. In 1952 the Boy Scouts troop in West Seattle planted a time capsule underneath the statue of liberty monument on Alki Beach. There is also one under the Alki monument, slated to be opened in 2051. Time capsules are a personal look into the past. They allow us to see the difference in prices, fashion, media, customs and many other things. They are made up of mementos from your time and are only opened after a specific amount of time.


 Writing paper for each student  Large paper for class ideas  A Capsule-This can be any container, but it must have a lid.  Collection of items from list for the time capsule 4 th -5 th grade-Whole group/Small group activity Creating a Time Capsule 2-40 minute lessons Meets Social Studies EALRs/GLEs


2.1.1 Compare and contrast ideas in different places, time periods, and cultures 2.2 Understand how ideas and technological developments influence people, culture, and environment,

Social Studies

: 3.1 Understand and apply critical thinking and problem solving skills to make informed and reasoned decisions.


2.1.1 Understands that writing changes for different audiences. 2.2.1 Demonstrates understanding of different purposes for writing.

Instructional Activities:

As a whole group, introduce the concept of a time capsule. Tell the students that in 1952, the Seattle Boy Scouts unveiled a replica Statue of Liberty on Alki Beach. Buried in the base of the statue was a time capsule that had the names of the scouts, some scout manuals, and several scout badges. The plan was to open the capsule in the year 2000, which seemed so far in the future. Unfortunately, a leak had ruined most of the contents. There is another time capsule buried at base of the Pioneer Monument on Alki Beach that is slated to be opened in 2051. Explain to the students that working in a small group, they are to decide on ten items that they think would represent our current day lifestyle to people far in the future. Break the class into groups of 4 or 5 and ask them to delegate roles for themselves (teacher may chose roles for students, depending on how much group work experience they have had). Each group should have 1 list writer, 1 facilitator (to make sure everyone’s ideas are heard) and 1 reader who will read the list aloud to the whole class. Each group member should contribute ideas about what should go into the time capsule and why. Remind students that the items should include information about 2007. Receipts, photos, postcards etc. are just a few ideas. After they have their lists, rejoin as a whole group and have each group read aloud their items to be recorded on a class list. Read aloud the class list and ask students what they think about the list. Notice repeated items, ask which items would not be practical etc. As a group, delete items until the list gets down to a workable amount of items.

Lesson 2

- Review the list of items. Ask students to individually write a letter to go in the time capsule, explaining one of the items a bit further. They can write about why they chose the item, where it is from, etc. Review letter writing conventions if necessary and remind the students to sign and date their letter. For homework, the students should be collecting items for the time capsule. After items have been collected and letters have been written, the class needs to come up with and appropriate place to keep the time capsule, when it should be opened and how people are going to be reminded to open it.


1951. Ask students to discuss what it was like to work in small groups. What was challenging, rewarding, etc. Ask what they think will be uncovered in the 2051 time capsule that was buried in


Observe groups to see how group dynamics take shape. Students should be able take on group roles and to participate equally. Check letters for proper conventions.